From the Independent Salons of mid-19th century France, through the wave of artist-run spaces and projects founded since the 1960s, artists’ frustration with the limitations set by existing institutions has led them to create autonomous models for collective self-organizing. Today, the distinction between artist and curator, artist as curator, artist as activist, restaurant as artwork (and an endless list of other pairings), is more a matter of creating temporary alliances and strategies between people and sites rather than strategies for questioning artistic production itself. Additionally, artistic strategies for these sites have become increasingly diverse and there is unprecedented fluidity between the various roles artists inhabit as individuals, collaborators, collectives, and cooperatives.
Temporary Art Review began by tracing those temporary alliances and strategies, providing a record of their development and presenting critical discussion around the projects that emerged. Since co-founding Temporary Art Review in 2011, Sarrita Hunn and James McAnally have worked with more than 200 writers and contributing editors to publish over 600 profiles, reviews, interviews and essays that focus on self-organized and artist-centered spaces and critical exchange across the United States and beyond. Temporary Art Review was founded in St. Louis with a national network of contributors, and decentralizes the conversation about contemporary practice by emphasizing the breadth of projects taking place outside of traditional art centers. Temporary offers an alternative perspective and serves as a resource for the greater art community by highlighting both practical and theoretical discourse.
In 2014, Temporary Art Review relaunched with an experimental ‘anti-profit’ economic model for online publishing driven by a bartering system which uses ad credit as a common currency to distribute value cooperatively among its many active contributors and partners. With this model, the momentum of the site is not relegated to a few, or sold to the highest bidder, but circulated among its authors, blurring the line between reader and writer, contributor and supporter.
In 2015, thanks to sponsorships from other artist-centric organizations and a partial grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (through our publisher The Luminary), we are now for the first time creating a dedicated fund for paying writers and guest editors. As we have always marked within our model: payment is not central to the operations of the site, but will be transparently shared among our contributors. We are excited to share this funding outward, allowing each contributor to choose from a flexible payment model of ad shares or stipends. We aim to use this fund to address two acute areas: one, the continued lack of critical coverage of artist-run spaces through national and international platforms and second, in-depth, ongoing features that engage the most pressing social concerns in the arts.
The public space of the site is an expression of underlying ideals and we are intent on continuing to experiment with its form in order to push forward the discussion on artist-led action and the latent potential it carries to transform our art worlds, our institutions, our means of expression and ourselves. Temporary will continue to create a space for discussion across disparate communities, respond to issues that artists and arts organizers are concerned about in the present moment, and attempt to understand how equitable exchange in the arts could be modeled, matured and embedded in our daily practices.